Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Mini review: The Immortal Heights by Sherry Thomas

GoodReads: In a pursuit that has spanned continents, Iolanthe, Titus, and their friends have always managed to remain one step ahead of the forces of Atlantis. But now the Bane, the monstrous tyrant who bestrides the entire mage world, has issued his ultimatum: Titus must hand over Iolanthe, or watch as his entire realm is destroyed in a deadly rampage. Running out of time and options, Iolanthe and Titus must act decisively to deliver a final blow to the Bane, ending his reign of terror for good.

However, getting to the Bane means accomplishing the impossible—finding a way to infiltrate his crypt in the deepest recesses of the most ferociously guarded fortress in Atlantis. And everything is only made more difficult when new prophecies come to light, foretelling a doomed effort....

Iolanthe and Titus will put their love and their lives on the line. But will it be enough?


- Add to GoodReads
Expected publication date: 13/10/15 

The Immortal Heights picks up where The Perilous Sea left off, and follows Iolanthe's and Titus's journey to take down the Bane.

I have to admit that I was kind of bored with the romance. I mean it was nice, but nice is all I can say about it. For me, it just didn't have the same level of swoons as it did in the previous books. No, it was the action that had me flying through the pages of The Immortal Heights. It's action packed right from the start, and at the end of each chapter there's a kind of cliffhanger that begs you to read on... the phrase 'just one more chapter' comes to mind. 

I loved Iolanthe's selflessness and her determination to protect the ones she cares for. Despite not loving the romance in this one I still appreciated her relationship with Titus, it's great seeing a couple who are so open with one another. Titus doesn't hide his fear from her and also knows when to step back and let her take charge. Her relationship with  Master Haywood was also really sweet, I want to see more father/daughter type relationships like this one.

All in all, it was a satisfying conclusion to the trilogy. Book one, however, remains my favourite!

Rating:  

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Poppy in the Field by Mary Hooper

GoodReads: When Poppy learns that the love of her life, Freddie de Vere, is to marry someone else, she knows her heart will break. Devastated, she volunteers her nursing skills overseas to take her away from the painful reminders at home. But things are about to get much worse for Poppy. The journey to the hospital in Flanders is full of horrors, and when she arrives it is to find a spiteful ward Sister and unfriendly nurses. Despite her loneliness and homesickness, the dangers of frontline warfare soon make her forget her own troubles and Poppy finds that comfort for a broken heart can be found in the most unexpected places.

- Add to GoodReads
Expected publication date: 07/05/15

2015 so far has not been a very good year of reading for me. I just haven't been all that excited about any of the upcoming releases. May, however, is a month in which two of my most anticipated books are due out - Susan Ee's End of Days being one and Poppy in the Field being the other. So, needless to say that when I got this before the expected publication date I was very happy!

It's obvious a lot of research has gone into this book as Hooper paints a vivid picture of what it was like for  VADs on the front line. I've read a few books based on WW1 before, but never from the POV of a VAD so it was definitely an interesting experience. It made me appreciate just how hard these women worked. Poppy herself is an admirable mc, I loved her dedication to what she was doing and how keen she was to do her part for the war.

Having transferred to a hospital in France Poppy is now on the front line, so the casualties brought in are much worse than those brought in England. It was horrible reading about the types of injuries men suffered during the war and the amount of death was shocking. It's not all death and gloom, though, there are some lighter moments as Poppy makes friends and is reacquainted with some familiar faces.

I loved the wit and charm of the love interest, and also his honesty. The romance was really sweet and subtle, every time the he would appear I'd find myself smiling, because it felt so genuine. 

Overall, this was a great conclusion to Poppy's story, and it is my first four star read of the year!

Rating:

Friday, 27 March 2015

Mini review: Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke by Anne Blankman

GoodReads: The girl known as Gretchen Whitestone has a secret: She used to be part of Adolf Hitler’s inner circle. More than a year after she made an enemy of her old family friend and fled Munich, she lives with a kindly English family, posing as an ordinary German immigrant, and is preparing to graduate from high school. Her love, Daniel Cohen, is a reporter in town. For the first time in her life, Gretchen is content.

But then, Daniel gets a telegram that sends him back to Germany, and Gretchen’s world turns upside-down. And when she receives word that Daniel is wanted for murder, she has to face the danger she thought she’d escaped-and return to her homeland.

Gretchen must do everything she can to avoid capture and recognition, even though saving Daniel will mean consorting with her former friends, the Nazi elite. And as they work to clear Daniel’s name, Gretchen and Daniel discover a deadly conspiracy stretching from the slums of Berlin to the Reichstag itself. Can they dig up the explosive truth and get out in time-or will Hitler discover them first?


- Add to GoodReads
Expected publication date: 21/04/15

Thoughts:

Despite not loving it as much as book one, I thought Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke was an enjoyable conclusion to Daniel and Gretchen's story. Unlike in the previous book Hitler is not actually present for the majority of the story. However, you can still feel his dark presence throughout as Gretchen and Daniel attempt to stay under the radar. In CoBaS Gretchen and Daniel's relationship is constantly being tested, but they remain a strong and supportive couple - I love that there was no drama in relation to how they felt about each other. Although the story started out slow things soon started to speed up as they returned to the place they fled and the stakes increase. Once again it's obvious that Blankman has done her research and I like the twists she added to make the story her own.

Overall, this is a great duology for YA historical fiction fans!

Rating:

Saturday, 24 January 2015

Shadow Study by Maria V Snyder

GoodReads: Once, only her own life hung in the balance.

Oddly enough, when Yelena was a poison taster, her life was simpler. But she'd survived to become a vital part of the balance of power between rival countries Ixia and Sitia. Now she uses her magic to keep the peace in both lands and protect her relationship with Valek.

Suddenly, though, they are beset on all sides by those vying for power through politics and intrigue. Valek's job - and his life - are in danger. As Yelena tries to uncover the scope of these plots, she faces a new challenge: her magic is blocked. She must keep that a secret - or her enemies will discover just how vulnerable she really is - while searching for who or what is responsible for neutralizing her powers.

Yes, the days of tasting poisons were much simpler. And certainly not as dangerous.


- Add to GoodReads
Expected publication date: 24/02/15

I love The Study trilogy, so when I heard that there was going to be three more books coming out I was really excited. However, if I'm being honest despite loving Valek, Yelena & the gang I was also a little worried, because sometimes completed series' are best left alone, in my opinion. The reason I say this is because in the past I've had experiences where I've enjoyed a completed series only to find there are going to be more books, and then when said books end up being disappointing it ruins my enjoyment of the whole series.

I'm happy to report, however, that that wasn't the case here! The plot was fast-paced and action packed as usual, and it was great seeing both old and new characters emerge throughout the story. Prior to reading this I decided to re-read the Study trilogy, which I'm glad I did as it helped refresh my mind on the characters and world. There are several references to the events and characters from the Glass trilogy, so if you have read that trilogy it will help you understand said references. However, as someone who hasn't read it I didn't feel lost. I still understood what was happening, so, I don't think you necessarily have to have read it to get the gist of what is going on.

Shadow Study alternates between Yelena's and Valek's POV. It was interesting learning about Valek's past and getting his thoughts on some of the events of the previous books. It made my love for him grow if that's possible.

In Shadow Study Yelena is under attacked by unknown enemies and to make matters worse her magic has been blocked. Valek is also busy trying to undercover the culprits behind some black market trading. The book opens with them together, but shorty after the action kicks off they go their separate ways. Which leads me to my next point...In Poison Study Yelena and Valek are together for the majority of the book, but in the books that follow they are separated for most of it. As much as I love how strong they are independently I would love to see them working together in future books, as opposed to being apart for most of it and only joining together towards the end.

Rating: 

Friday, 23 January 2015

UK cover reveal: Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke by Anne Blankman

GoodReads: The girl known as Gretchen Whitestone has a secret: she used to be part of Adolf Hitler's inner circle. More than a year ago, she made an enemy of her old family friend and fled Munich to live in Oxford, posing as an ordinary German immigrant. Her love, Daniel Cohen, is a reporter in town, and Gretchen is content. Then a telegram sends Daniel back to Germany, and her world turns upside-down when she learns that Daniel is wanted for murder. To save him, she must return to her homeland and somehow avoid capture and recognition by her former friends, the Nazi elite. And as she and Daniel work to clear his name, they discover a deadly conspiracy stretching from the slums of Berlin to the Reichstag itself. Can they dig up the explosive truth and escape in time - or will Hitler discover them first?

- Add to GoodReads
Expected publication date: 21/04/15

I'm thrilled to reveal the UK cover for Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke by Anne Blankman. I had the pleasure of reading an e-arc back in November 2014, and I have to say that I think it is a brilliant conclusion to Gretchen's and Daniel's story.
So, what do you think of the cover?

Saturday, 17 January 2015

Blog Tour: The Mime Order by Samantha Shannon (Review & Exclusive Content!)

GoodReads: Paige Mahoney has escaped the brutal penal colony of Sheol I, but her problems have only just begun: many of the fugitives are still missing and she is the most wanted person in London.

As Scion turns its all-seeing eye on Paige, the mime-lords and mime-queens of the city’s gangs are invited to a rare meeting of the Unnatural Assembly. Jaxon Hall and his Seven Seals prepare to take center stage, but there are bitter fault lines running through the clairvoyant community and dark secrets around every corner.

Then the Rephaim begin crawling out from the shadows. But where is Warden? Paige must keep moving, from Seven Dials to Grub Street to the secret catacombs of Camden, until the fate of the underworld can be decided. Will Paige know who to trust? The hunt for the dreamwalker is on. 

- Add to GoodReads
Expected publication date: 27/01/15 

I'm so thrilled to be part of this tour! Below you will find my (gushing) review of The Mime Order, and an exclusive piece of content written by Samantha Shannon.

Review:

When The Mime Order came in the post I was beyond excited, because it was one of my most anticipated sequels of 2015. To say that I'm head over heels in love with the first book, The Bone Season, would kind of be an understatement - I mean I've read it three times, first as an e-arc back in August 2013, then again in April 2014, and once more a couple of months prior to TMO's (old) release date.  Am I obsessed? YES. The term book hangover comes to mind when I think about how I felt after finishing The Mime Order. Days after finishing the book I still couldn't stop thinking about it. I kept coming back to it between books, whether to re-read my favourite passages or to just *cough* stare at it. It is definitely, hands down, 100% the best book I read last year, and I will no doubt be re-reading it this year as I wait impatiently for book three.

I have to admit that when I first heard that there was going to be seven books in this series I was a little wary. You see I personally prefer duologies, trilogies or even quartets. The reason for this is because I've found that when series' go past 2-4 books they either become boring and I lose interest, or something happens that is such a complete turnabout it ruins my enjoyment of the books.  Even though I'm still unsure about how the series will pan out into seven books I now have have a better idea, having read TMO, of why there is going to be more than 2-4 books - I don’t think this intricate story Shannon has created would quite fit into a trilogy, etc.

At around 500 pages The Mime Order is a beast of a book, yet it could have been more and I still would have flown through it. The pacing in the first half is slow, and although I'm usually not found of slow-paced sequels it completely worked for me here. I was so invested in the intricate world-building and characters that it just wasn't an issue. The Mime Order picks up exactly where The Bone Season left off, and if you can I definitely recommend re-reading book one, or alternatively if you haven't got time to do that perhaps read this detailed recap posted by the lovely people at Recaptains. As well as fully introducing us to the Seven Seals, The Mime Order, sets the scene for things to come and explores the internal politics of the criminal syndicate of Scion.

I love the slow-burning progression of the romance, because if this is going to be a seven book series I don't want things to move too quickly between Paige and Warden and simmer out. Warden does not appear until half way through the book, and when he does there is obvious tension between them, what with their romance being the forbidden type. Although forbidden romance is a typical trope in YA I think Shannon has done a wonderful job with it, creating tension, yet at the same time straying away from over the top angst and love triangle drama. The romance is well balanced with the rest of the story and if you enjoyed what has now been dubbed by many as the 'crate' scene I think you'll enjoy pages 407- 409 (at least in the ARC it's those pages, not sure about the final copy) because SWOON. I also really like the dynamics of Paige and Warden's relationship; the way they challenge and push each other  is great. I hope Shannon plans on including Warden's POV in future books or perhaps writing a novella from his perspective as I think it would be very interesting to get inside his head.

As I said earlier there is less focus on action in the first half of TMO, and more on the world building and characters. There is political intrigue and we are introduced to the different clairvoyant gangs and characters, including the Seven Seals. As Paige tries to stay under the radar she realises that in order to fight the Rephaim  –whose dark presence you can feel throughout the course of the book despite them not actually being present for the majority of it- she must attempt to convince and bring together the scattered community of clairvoyants. However, as she navigates through the criminal underworld of Scion she soon discovers that the place she calls home is hiding some dark secrets.

In the Mime Order Paige is faced with many challenges and has to make some hard decision, but despite her young age she faces them head on. It was great seeing her grow and I can't wait for more character development in future books. I also found her changing relationship with Jaxon fascinating. After the events of book one she no longer sees him in the same light and wishes to cut all ties to him, but soon finds that it isn’t as easy as that. The second half of the book is where the action kicks off. The build up of mystery as Paige attempts to puzzle together the secrets of the underworld of SciLo is well paced - there is death, blood, and plot twists at every corner which lead to one heck of an ending. I honestly did not see it coming!

Rating: 


Exclusive content:

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Top Ten Books I Read In 2014

TTT is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Top ten eleven books I read this year!

Conclusions:

The Offering by Kimberly Derting
"But I knew something that Elena hadn't. That the measure of a true queen didn't lie in her magic. It had more to do with who she was, and what she was willing to give of herself, than it did with the powers she possessed."

Into the Still Blue by Veronica Rossi


"We all have the potential to do terrible things. But we also have the potential to overcome our mistakes."

Shattered by Teri Terry


"It doesn't look much from the outside. But what you get outside is often like that. People, especially, can be so different from what you can see that you'd never guess what goes on in their secret places. What they are capable of."

Ruins by Dan Wells 
The Partials trilogy is, in my opinion, underrated. If you're looking for a YA sci-fi book with diversity and a complex set of female characters then I definitely recommend it.

Three by Kristen Simmons
"You need a bath."
His muscles loosened by the slightest degree. "Maybe you could take one with me."
I felt his grin against my neck. "Make sure I don't cut any corners."
My stomach fluttered. "Maybe I will."
He went still.
Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo 

“You are all I’ve ever wanted,” he said. “You are the whole of my heart.” 







Sequels:

The Mime Order by Samantha Shannon
Having read The Bone Season three times it would probably be an understatement to say that I'm head over heels in love with it. The Mime Order, although not due out until next year just had to be included in this list, because it is hands down the best sequel I have read this year! My review should be up soon. 



The Perilous Sea by Sherry Thomas
TPS was a strong sequel, and I love this guest post featured on Carina's blog about keeping up the tension in a middle book without introducing a love triangle.


The Silkworm by J.K. Rowling
Such a brilliant sequel! Loved the mystery and the evolving (and thus far platonic) relationship between Cormoran & Robin.  Also: I was so not expecting the gore!







Standalone:

The Cure for Dreaming by Cat Winters
Another atmospheric read from Winters! She has this way of expertly blending together historical and paranormal elements.
  
Debut:

The Midnight Thief by Livia Blackburne
I loved everything about this book, and am super excited for the conclusion!

Did any of these books make it to your favourites?
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...